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Rare Texas bird spotted at Dorval Technoparc has some pointing to climate change

A rare sighting at the Dorval Technoparc has bird watchers flocking to the airport to catch a glimpse of a bird not normally seen in Canada.

The scissor-tailed flycatcher, also known as the Texas bird of paradise, sports a long split tail and is normally found in the southern United States. When a few bird watchers spotted one last weekend at the Technoparc beside the airport, they knew it was a rare sighting.

“The minute somebody spots a bird that is completely out of the ordinary, it gets put on the Technoparc Oiseaux Facebook group,” says bird watcher Ariane Cohen.

“Word spreads like wildfire. Everyone is out here coming to see it,” she adds.

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The bird must have crossed the border sometime last week, but many are wondering why it came north when usually these birds migrate south during the fall months.

Bird watchers speculate it came in on a plane, but retired Mcgill University Orthinology Professor Dr. Roger Titman has his own theories.

“Judging what’s happening with climate change these days, it’s not too surprising that storms and heavy winds could have pushed the flycatchers,” he says.

The species is known as a wanderer and has been spotted as far west as California and British Columbia, but this could be the first time it’s been spotted in Quebec.

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Experts say there is no reason to capture the bird. It’s not an endangered species, but Dr. Titman says it will have a hard time finding food once it snows.

“It should fly on its own and if it doesn’t, well, it seems rather harsh but that’s what nature is, rough and tooth and claw.”

He adds that the timing of movement and the distribution of birds is shifting due to climate change and these rare sightings could become more common in the future.

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